Today’s guest picture comes from Zyriacus. It shows the Leichlingen bridge across the Wupper river. It was built in 1926 and he tells me that it was built of concrete because at that time the river was so contaminated that they feared that a metal bridge would corrode. He says that things are better now.
The thermometer simply will not drop below freezing this winter. It was 0.6C this morning when we got up and it rose to 3 degrees by the afternoon. There was a good deal of ice about and Mrs Tootlepedal, alerted by a child taking a tumble on the road in front of her, had to get off her bike and push it when she went to sing in church . It was all clear by the time she came home.
I spent the time while she was singing, doing some research for my forthcoming toast. It is one of those cases where there is so much material available and so many possible avenues of exploration that my head hurts just thinking about it all. I am hoping that inspiration or at least a sensible idea hits me soon.
I did find some time to stare out of the window.
A single brambling visited.
After Mrs Tootlepedal returned from church, we had an early lunch and went for a walk. Mrs Tootlepedal is a great lover of novelty so we drove to the top of Callister and then walked along a forest track which which we had never walked along before. It gives an idea of the restless pace of forest management here that this plantation has been planted, felled and replanted since we came to live in the area.
Our walk took us round a shallow valley and we hadn’t gone far before we met a robin.
We started by walking back parallel to the road we had come along and we passed a bridge which I must have cycled across perhaps a hundred times without ever noticing that it was there.
Our route took us through some mature trees and out into the felled area. The plantation trees are planted so closely and grow so quickly and with such shallow roots that when a block is felled, the trees on the edge of the next block are very susceptible to being blown over.
Times have changed a bit and now grants are only made available if some broad leaved trees are planted as well as conifers. The use of tubes for these young trees seems to be universal.
We were able to get some good views as walked through the cleared area.
It turned out to be a very varied and enjoyable walk and we will certainly come back again when we have more time to explore. On this occasion, we stopped when we came to a small frozen pond…
…which surprisingly had a couple of daisies blooming beside it.
Here we turned back and retraced our steps, stopping to admire some boldly coloured lichen(?) on our way.
The track through the mature forest….
…was lined by mossy banks….
…which were very striking on closer examination.
As we looked back, we could see that the weather was closing in.
We were intrigued to find a bed of reeds growing beside the track as we got near the car.
It was hard to work out where this had come from and, if it was planted deliberately, why someone had gone to the trouble.
I should add that although I was too chicken to go out on my bike ,while we were driving to our walk we passed several cyclists, including a very small child, as well as a jogger, all braving the possible icy patches.
I didn’t have long after we got home until it was time for me to go off to Carlisle to sing in a community choir there. Two of our recorder group sing with the choir and they had said that it was very worthwhile so I thought that I would give it a go. They had about 50 singers there of whom only six were tenors and three of these were ladies so I was warmly welcomed. They have a very able and energetic young choirmaster who comes all the way from Glasgow to take them and I enjoyed the meeting and the choice of music so much that I will definitely go back again on a regular basis. I am hoping to tempt Mrs Tootlepedal to join me.
A chaffinch in the cold morning light does duty as flying bird of the day once again.